“…I’m a (wo)man whose tragedies have been replaced, with memories tattooed upon my soul…”

Because I'm deep in the depths of my other writing, my writing to, and about, Chester, and cancer, but my thoughts, and heart, betray me so often I can't focus, there is this. Other thoughts that aren't those. They are all here, HERE, in my soul and my fingertips, the words I want to finish,  which I've been writing for almost a week. Today though, I've been riding the waves of memories from ages ago, tinged by anger, and hurt, or something, of right now, but I have to say something. Something… Because the other writing is as much about me as it is about him, and suicide, and depression, and cancer. But this one is about me, as I relate to him, and just me. And Liz Gilbert. (Eat Pray Love) And I don't know why I'm writing it, just that I'm supposed to.

This is not a cry for help blog. This is not an "I'm in a scary depressed place" writing. Because by the grace of what the fuck ever it is, as much as I am some insane mix of angry and sad right now, and clearly dancing with expansion that has left me exhausted I'm OK. I mean, I'm often these last few days on autopilot, and I would LOVE for now to be the moment of melting into the arms of the one I trust implicitly, who trusts me implicitly, and to just let go. (There, I said it, I SAID IT. I'd shout it from rooftops. If I could. Because as much as I'm scared to say I want {translation: need} that hug, I'm not scared to feel it at all, anymore. Mostly not scared. OK, sometimes a little scared but also, not. Fuck. Note to self: finish clearing fear of saying I need that hug, and of actually needing hug, etc.)

There's some sort of irony in the timing when need might be said (more than once) but… reality makes it not really possible to say. C'est la vie. I trust there is a reason to the timing of it all. Maybe now is a time for me to lean in, more than to lean on. Except I do know I'm not alone. That it is inherently impossible for me to ever be alone.

These things that I am going to say next are being "spoken" into smoke to lift them, carry them away, as they are what has been but does not still need to be. I will phrase them in the present tense as in this moment while I am writing, they to some degree still exist as my truth.

I have abandonment issues. Big fat the size of the Milky Way (galaxy, not candy bar, in case you weren't sure) abandonment issues. These stem from boringly typical, and fuckeduply atypical, events throughout the course of my life.

I have trust issues. Whatever is bigger than the Milky Way, (galaxy) is the size of my trust issues. I believe in the best of people. That people are inherently good. My half a hippy wants to bounce across the earth giving hugs, and cupcakes (except cupcakes with their processed flour, and sugar really aren't good for you, so that's kind of not a nice thing to give. But how lame would it be to give, like, celery, or cheese, which are actually better for you? I mean, I LOVE cheese, but, cupcake trumps cheese most of the time.) I will absolutely trust everyone, right until they give me reason to not. Or right up until I start to look for a reason to not. To look for, and find, the teeth that fit the scars, and then say the teeth came before the scars. And it's not just a male/female relationship trust issue thing, BTWs. I can not trust you irrespective of your gender. To not hold my past against anyone continues to be my quest.

My mind, if too much time is spent by me, alone in it, is a bad neighborhood. (I've stolen that from Chester, yes I have!) I over think, I over analyze, I "should" on myself, and have been known to spend entirely too much time looking over my shoulder, or into a figurative crystal ball trying to catch a glimpse of tomorrows. I have been prone to a melancholy I did not understand. I doubt my appearance, my intelligence, my worth, and second guess myself, a lot.

I have a fear that if I don't say everything I need to say RIGHT NOW, I will not have the chance to say it. I believe this stems in large part from ~ went to visit for a weekend, dude I was dating, who lived in another state. When time came for me to go home I said to him, in tears, "I'm afraid I'll never see you again." (Random, melodramatic, and clingy much, 19 year old Michelle?) He said "of course we'll see each other again, we have too much fun when we're together, to not." The following weekend I had a brief phone conversation with him. He said he was going to go for a ride on his motorcycle. He wrecked his bike. His injuries were catastrophic. I never saw him again. Each of his friends thought the other had called me to tell me. It was 5 days after his passing when I called to speak to him, and was told what had happened. So not random, melodramatic, or clingy, at all. I could genuinely have anxiety on the daily out of fear of losing someone I love, and not getting to tell them I love them, in general, or one last time. This is compounded by fear of something happening, and no one calling me to tell me.  So I often say too much, and its never enough.

I've made an art form of self-sabotage. Frequently because of attempting to fit into the boxes others think I should be in. As soon as I acquiesce and climb in, I start fucking things up, left, right and center, in a form of futile protest, as the only damage done is to myself. I can pinpoint every reason I have this tasty little habit, but, meh. Is it when I'm happy too, Chester? (Because he said of himself that he is {was. fuck.} never content, even when happy.)

As I re-read, I can say in all honesty, a lot of the above have decidedly been more my truths in my past than any time recently. But as they each have presented themselves to me tonight, they got included. Many of them find their origin in molestation when I was 7. I only mention it as it is one of the things Chester, and I, share as a commonality. Part of why I GET everything he said, in every interview I've seen, when he's spoken of his depression and where it has taken him.

*Cue smoke into which they will float away*

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I listened to a brilliant Ted Talk given by Liz Gilbert titled "Your Elusive Creative Genius." Only 20 minutes long, but, a game changer if you choose to hear what it says. As it relates to me, to Chester, to Chris Cornell, and too all of the other ridiculously talented creative feelers I have ever known, what I HEARD above all was (screen captured 'cause I couldn't copy/paste)

liz

This proved to me once and for all that she is my hero, and possibly my spirit animal. Because I have spent YEARS thinking about WHY so many of my creative lovelies, are so fucked up. But more than that, seem to almost wear it like a badge of honor. "I'm starving for my art." Well, go you! You go right ahead and be that stereotype. Imma be over here, trying to create something, and also, eating. Since you'd rather starve, I'll eat your portion too. You've seen my ass, right?

In all seriousness though, in the years I was working with bands, and in my interactions with artists, always, I have had a very clear train of thought, that starving for one's art, literally and as a euphemism for a bunch of other dumb shit we do because we are "arteests" and sensitive, isn't really cool. Or fun. Or interesting. Also, its been done, to death. Literally. Irrespective of at a point being the girlfriend in the "what do you call a musician without a girlfriend? – homeless" joke, I always ALWAYS walked away from working with those bands who by choice were starving artists. Music was too important to me, people were too important to me, to do either the disservice of saying "Yeah, sure I'll watch you be your own worst enemy, in the name of creating art." My standard line, which was never just a line, but really IS the song of my soul, "keep pursuing your dream, while taking care of reality." Read: get a mother f'n J.O.B. if ya got to, so ya not living in your momma's basement, while you're trying to be the next (Chester Bennington.) Don't be a drug addict while thinking its cool to be a drug addict, because its not. If you accidentally become a drug addict, don't decide it's cool. No judgement. I've got that t-shirt. But heroin chic, is not.

I am not saying that Chester did anything he did, ever, much less at the end, because of the paradigm of the tortured artist. I do not assume to know what was in his head, and heart at any moment in time, less the time he told me exactly what was in his head and heart. (Which is part of another blog, and of a blog to come.) What I am however saying is, perhaps as a group, we should stop accepting that this is who we must be. How we must be. I understand, with a capital UNDERSTAND, how that may not be easy, because we do FEEL, so deeply, so everything, and because when I was in my darkest, most horrible place, I might have told someone attempting to shine a light in, to get fucked. But maybe if we shine a different light on it, each for ourselves, which will then affect the group of us, maybe it will help a little, until it helps a lot? Maybe if we nurture the tiny ridiculously talented creative feelers while they are still tiny, instead of discouraging their dreams, it'll be a preemptive strike but in a good way.

As I see it, Chester did not "go gently into that goodnight." No matter how that goodnight came about. I believe that Chester with every ounce of his energy worked to shift what needed shifting, inside himself. For himself. For EVERYONE. He put his life into his lyrics, in the most raw, and vulnerable of ways. He furthered his transparency by speaking candidly, and frequently about his hurts, and fucked-upnesses. I know many people are watching his interviews and posting them as his alleged cry for help. I think that's absolute shit. I think he was just being his honest self because he knew on some level that to be so would help him, and others. So maybe we can shift that too. Speaking about what hurts, or sucks, doesn't mean you're crying for help, or crying at all. Maybe its just that you know it is the right thing to do, for yourself, for others. Perspective baby. Get some. See where yours takes you. Might not be the same place I go, and that's cool.

Why I put myself so fully onto these "pages"is a combination of my NEED to create a something, joined with my NEED to work through my shit, and my HOPE that maybe my words will give a someone the tiniest something when they need it most. Even if its just because they read what I write about myself and think "this bitch is CRAZY, and I am absolutely NOT" right when they need to think they aren't crazy. Maybe in me they will find a kindred, and feel not so alone, even if they never speak to me. Or maybe they will reach out to me, as some have, and say, "You have been where I am right now, you are giving me hope that I will able to be happy again, someday." And I'll have a new friend, and so will they. THAT is what it is all about, really. Touching lives. Experiences. Making a difference. Helping others. And not being afraid to show our crazy, while also being happy, and creating.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

To Liz Gilbert, thank you for being so wise, and bad ass, and inspirational. Please don't ever stop writing. I mean, unless you want to. Also, tons of love to you, and your Rayya.

Thank you to those who today helped me to walk through the mini fire that popped up. I am so very grateful.

And to the one who unintentionally started the mini fire, because it's what you're supposed to do, I thank you too, for being you, and just being, and love you.

Chester, your thank you is in another writing. But also in my heart, which I know you know.

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Title is an excerpt from "Into You" by Dead By Sunrise

Your Elusive Creative Genius – Liz Gilbert

 

 

“…Remember You’re Loved, and You Always Will Be, this Melody Will Bring You Right Back Home…”

There are words. So many words. But exhaustion, emotional and physical, keep me from finishing what I’m trying to say to work through this fucked moment in time. Not that it will fix anything or even help anything to make sense.  

Meanwhile, I need to say, you matter. You are important. You are needed. You are loved. Whoever you are. Even if I don’t know you, I care. If you need someone, I’m here. I’m nobody special, except I absolutely am someone special, because you are too! And I will pour every ounce of my love into you if it is what you need to help you get thru. No matter who you are. I will be your sun today, as best I can.

Rest In Peace Chester. I’ll see you on the other side. 

And fuck you cancer. Just fuck you. 

Thank you to my not heros for once again helping me to remain standing in the moments my knees begin to buckle, which are many too many this last couple of weeks. I love you. 

Thank You For Not Being My Hero

Its important to say from the start, this is not a feminist “I don’t need no mans to save me” something. Mostly because I’m not a feminist. But also, I don’t need no mans to save me. Or womans. Or even a priest or minister, although I am sure there are those who will beg to differ, but that ship sailed when I was 6 so, get over it already! Also this is not a “be your own hero” thing. I dig the vibe that is trying to put out, but, that’s not what this is about.

These words have been trying to come out for days, have been partially written for days, as I’ve again, still, been walking, or sometimes what has felt like crawling, through so much that I don’t understand. The things that make me feel crazy, which also make me feel not crazy, that I in some moments fight,then surrender to, when I’m not contemplating running, or crying; with gratitude, or because so much feels like SO MUCH!

I keep it mostly inside because as much as I am pretty flexible about certainty these days, I feel pretty certain that all of what I am being brought to, or that is being brought to me, is a solo journey, except not really, because that is inherently impossible. More its about rolling around in what my intuition says, and what my truth is, rather than seeking counsel from “experts” or friends, or some random dude. Which that one, the random dude one, would be not really about the counsel thing, but more about an attempt to forget the everything, and to fake take away the lonely that sometimes creeps in. For as much as it is a quasi-solo journey though, it couldn’t possibly be any less about me.

If ever you (whomever you are, reading this) aspire to feel like a crazy dumb ass, have a “spiritual awakening” or whatever name is appropriate based on your particular flavor of beliefs. Then try typing those words, about yourself and see if you either laugh at yourself, or think ‘what in the actual fuck is occurring, because I don’t say shit like that!’ Especially if you weren’t ever spiritually “closed” nor were you seeking any sort of opening thing. And also if you roll your eyes every time you read the words “spiritual awakening” because it sounds so cheesy/pretentious, when you think it relates to you, you’ll feel like a crazy dumb ass, who a little bit wants to punch themselves for sounding like an idiot.

Maybe part of my “mission” will be to come up with a less stupid sounding expression for what I’m feeling/doing/have happening to me/I am happening to. Ascension is another frequently used term, but I don’t vibe with that either. It reminds me of Jesus, or the Virgin Mary, and Bible stories. All I know is, some crazy (cool) somethung is going down inside me/around me/in every version of me, and has been since last November. Well, really long before then, as I can pinpoint other dates that  parts of this journey started (continued) in this lifetime. But in November I had some sort of “quickening” like in Highlander. Except there can’t be only one, and while I often feel as if my head has fallen off, I’m pretty certain no hot Scottish dude is going to show up with his broadsword to chop it off anytime soon. I mean, hot British dude always  welcome. Chopping off of head, not so much.

To quote  (again, as I’ve used it in a previous blog) a brilliant line from Marianne Williamson “we are the ones that we have been waiting for”  and in thinking of a story also recounted in another blog, told by Denise Linn, from the Elders of Native American tribes, those who sacrificed themselves lifetimes ago, for a moment in the future/some other time, in which they were needed, are returning because that moment is now. And no matter how nuts I feel sometimes, no matter that “this”  and elements of it, triggers me, challenges me, causes me to dig so deeply into everything I think I know about myself, and my beliefs, in moments I feel raw, I’m all “game on” about this path.

If none of that blabber appears to have anything to do with the title, it really, actually does. So I’ll say it again; Thank You for Not Being My Hero.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many times where all I want is to be wrapped in arms I trust, and to just let gooooo. To not have to be in charge of anything, or worry about anything, or think about anything, for even just a minute.  And this isn’t a “Jesus take the wheel” (haha) thing I’m saying, I mean literal arms. Man arms. Preferably attached to a man. I’d love to just melt into the someone I trust implicitly, who trusts me the same. Chick arms are cool too, for hugs, or cuddling sometimes, but just not the same. Still though, I don’t want to be saved. Or rescued. 

I just FINALLY dipped out of the part of my life where “victim” was the brand I was “supposed” to wear. Victim is more itchy against my skin than cheap wool, uglier than polyester from the 70’s, and more constricting than Spanx. I don’t want to wear that ever again, even in the arms of one supposedly rescuing me from it. Bleh. 

So to my not heroes I need to say, thank you for not trying to swoop in, scoop me up, and “oh poor you-ing” me,  to the point I’d start to think “oh poor me” also. Thank you for instead of trying to make my boo boos all better, giving me your time, your moments, your humor, and your ear. Also, your voice, your opinions, your ideas, and thoughts, without insisting or even suggesting, that I make them mine, as they (my boo boos) healed on their own. 

Thank you for not spouting platitudes that would have annoyed the fuck out of me, but instead, sharing photos, quotes, stories, poetry, or music, meant to comfort me, make me laugh, distract me, or bring me to a warm, and fuzzy place.

Thank you for being whole enough in and of yourself, that you see me as, in and of myself, whole enough to be able to navigate everything I needed to navigate, until I saw myself as that whole, too.  And for patience, as I, like a Rottweiler puppy who has reached full size, am still a clumsy as hell, not having yet fully grown into myself, trip over my own feet while excitedly running through the world, and slip on the hardwood floor  because I’m just too busy wagging my tail to notice anything else going on.  But really, the growth spurt was fast, and my inside is still playing catch up with my “outside” so, thanks also for the patience when I jump on you because I’m just so happy to see you. I’ll grow out of it. Not the happy to see you thing, the having no chill thing.

Thank you for not trying to patch the holes of my insecurities you did not create, with whatever it would be that could fill them for a moment, but instead just BEING, as I remember I don’t need the insecurities. And for kissing my wounds, while not seeing them as disasters in my soul, but cracks in which to put your love (Paraphrased/bastardized from Emery Allen) while making no attempt to fix them, either. 

Also thank you for knowing I want you but don’t “need” you.  (Except sometimes. Shhh, don’t tell.) But also for not NEEDING me, but wanting me too. Thank you for being in your own ways, a brilliant shiny example to be followed, by me, by others, in our own way. 

Thank you most of all for the trust. In its defying of explanation, it is probably the most clearly ‘exactly as it is supposed to be’ thing I’ve ever known.

If you think that this might in part be for or about you, it probably is, because there is more than one not hero. And not heroes aren’t just boys, which still isn’t feminism but is fact.  There is also though, one SUPER not hero? Not SUPER hero? Whatever. One who has, by happenstance, which is more likely part of a “divine plan” not just held the mirror, but is the mirror, that has allowed me to see the possibility of all, to paraphrase myself. 

To each of you, but most of all to YOU, I send my endless gratitude and love. You’re the most amazing not heros any girl could ever have! Thank you for not thinking me crazy. Or liking my flavor of crazy. Whichever works best for you. And at least one of you is going to one day, when I write a book, which will then be made into a movie, in which my not heros will be featured,  end up wearing some skin tight something or other, irrespective of your not hero status, just because it will be fun. 

Floating Around With My Head In The Clouds

An alternate title could be “Jesus Christ Michelle, shut the fuck up already.” But I’d hate to offend anyone. Which is a lie because if you’re offended by my use of those words strung together, 200% truth is you should never read what I write. Unless you enjoy being offended. In which case, you’re more fucked up than me. (More fucked up than I? It’s 430 AM I don’t know which is correct.)

The thing is, I can’t say enough, I don’t have the answers to anything. I used to think I had some answers, which as it turns out were mostly based on what others told me the answers were. And were wrong.

From where I lay right now, which is to say in a home so new to me, as I bleary eyed stumbled to find the bathroom as the rude Restless Soul Syndrome woke me again, I wasn’t sure which way to turn outside my bedroom door, I know less than I used to. I can’t recall in which kitchen cupboard I put what. (Other than those which make logical sense. Do not make me verbally slap you because you don’t know that your dishes should go in the top cupboard closest to the dishwasher!) Outside my apartment, I don’t know where a grocery store is, or gas station, or how to get to the closest Wawa. (If you don’t know Jersey you don’t know Wawa, and I’m sad for you.)

For reasons that have little to do with being severely directionally impaired, I can’t drive to my new job without using my Waze app. Once I am at work at least twice a day I make an ass of myself wandering the halls in search of a restroom, or breakroom, I’d been to earlier. Thankfully I know the industry I’ve gone back into, and learn new software easily, but otherwise most of my days are spent learning things new to me.

I think it’s fair to say that, inside and out, 75% of me, and my life, has 100% changed in the last year. Which is great given the shit show my life had in many ways been for too long. Certainly I’m used to change with my life of permanent impermanence that to others has made me appear unstable, or irresponsible, or flakey, but these changes have been BIG. And I’m not talking geography here.

There are very few immutable truths I’ve held much of my life, those being; my kids before all else, which also means me letting them go to be who they are. If I had to choose between never hearing music again or never having sex again, I’d give up sex. (But also fuck that Sophie’s choice! It’s just to illustrate a point!) For me, blood is NOT thicker than water, and it doesn’t make me an asshole to believe this. I would have traded big boobs, and a big ass, to be a Ballerina. Most forms of math I was forced to learn in school were useless in real life, like I said they’d be! And I fit in everywhere, and also, nowhere, and I’m cool with it.

Also immutable (except those years it wasn’t) is that I’m just, me, and I actually do love me (again  now).  I’ll speak my mind clearly, other than when I stumble over my words because there isn’t (or is) eye contact. Part of me is also about struggling with when to speak, and when to not. Like, timing is everything, but there’s no time like the present. Except maybe my present being the “no time like” isn’t the same as that of someone else. Maybe their puppy is sick and they don’t have the capacity to hear my ramble. And I forget that sometimes.

So right now expansion is happening rapid fire.  Things I didn’t ask for, hope for, dream of, or even know existed, seem to be the foundation upon which I was built, but didn’t realize it until ideas found me, and said “don’t worry baby, you’re not crazy, or a bad person.” And there’s a limited audience whom I sought out to support the “not crazy or bad” thing, cause they’ve been where I (think) I am, who may get this, if it is what is, with whom I can discuss the parts of it which can be discussed. 

But for as much as it makes sense, it’s also scary if I let it be scary, and lonely until it’s not,  and in a run away as fast as you can, sort of way. Where I want to look around and be all Jersey girl and say, “fuck outta here wit dis bullshit, have you MET me? Why would I be a fitting person for this role?” But I feel like I’ve gotten a “this is your mission and you can’t not accept it” note. 

Even if I’m reading a million signs wrong, the direction I’m headed is the same irrespective of who is along for the ride, and it’s good! I will always have to be at least ok, no matter who is coming along. 

So while I still don’t have answers I now at least feel like I get myself, and my life, a bit more. Permanent impermanence has been on purpose to allow me freedom (just another word for, nothing left to lose) and flexibility of sorts. A constant quest for deeper truths without blind faith in anything or one, has allowed me to REALLY find my truths. (Work in progress)

And for those who may wonder or may need to know, each step I am making is made with integrity, love (global and specific) like I’ve never known, and highest good for all as it’s driving forces. My focus is inside me, healing my me, raising my vibration, and watching for the synchronicities as a (beloved) friend has helped me to remember to do.

So all this being said, I’m tired AF, and it’s time to get up for work. Also, I need a break from my own head, from deep thoughts and emotions that come with rapid fire transformation. I need to go out and play, to shake my ass (dance!) hear the ocean. Sometimes too, I just need to shut the fuck up, like right now.

On Being (Sleep Deprived) Light 

Long before I’d had even a glimmer of understanding of the enormity of everything that is still not, but never wasn’t, so therefore is (And to think Jean-Luc once accused me of pedantry!) there was for me, light. That which illuminated. That which is the antithesis of cumbersome/heavy. Light.

Irrespective of the place in which I am for this time, which is in shadow, and maybe I, as has often been the case in life, have it all wrong, but I think it’s now my turn. To lilluminate. To be what isn’t heavy. So from my place in shadow, I’ll be the light. Shining into places that appear scary, but really are not. Making it easier to traverse the road (less traveled) ahead. Being a cosmic cheerleader for those who need it, encouraging them to leave behind the heavy, the cumbersome, the past. 

Written from my bed again, in a night of sleep that has come in drips, and drops, after an evening of fighting everything inside me that feels overwhelmed by a call to trust in some sort of greater plan, and to trust in general. Fighting to transmute thoughts and feelings and energy which doesn’t serve me. Fighting to overcome the sadness of not being where I want to be, where I thought I’d be, tonight, tomorrow, next week. Fighting to believe loneliness won’t be forever. For whatever it means, I’ll be the light. 

There’s some sort of irony in typing this right now, into my phone, in a room with only just now the slightest hint of sunlight peeking through the blinds, without my glasses as I’d planned to sleep tonight, not write,  as with so much else in my life, just feeling my way through, and hoping I get at least most of it right. But also a little bit saying fuck it, if there are tiny mistakes, at least I wrote the thing, instead of just letting it sit untouched in the back of my mind. 

“How far away the stars seem, and how far is our first kiss, … how old my heart.”

There are so many things I need to be doing right now, today, this weekend. Sitting on my ass writing is not among them. But THEY(them?), or the words, or something, keep telling me to write.  And to cry.  Whatever it is that calls to me, or feeds me words, and takes my breath away with emotions I didn’t expect washing over me in a random moment, and tears, has fucked timing, because I really do have a lot to do. So here I sit.

And now the bastards abandon me with their direction to write still burning in me, nothing but my scattered, cloudy thoughts to keep me company, and a song playing over and over because it says without saying, everything that I ache to hear but never imagined I’d ever be hearing, and in the moments I am able to focus on it, I find my balance again.

There have been 3333 thoughts flipping through my head this week, most of them today.  I know there are words that I (too) give in disguise, if at all, but mostly I say not at all,  and in the holding back of these, the others also get sometimes paused. Not that these words are reliant on, or related to, those words. Except its all related in some way that I never end up knowing until long after the fact, which actually makes me happy because “…the less I seek my source for some definitive, the closer I am to fine…”

But meanwhile, words unsaid are currently playing the role of some sort of dialogue condom; catching all the rest of the words I’m meant to say, too. Or maybe its not even that, maybe the words don’t even get that far, maybe I have verbal blue balls. Or both, dependent on the day. I can’t begin to explain male ejaculation, and lack thereof, as my analogy of choice in this moment, but I’ve decided to just roll with myself, in all my glorious weird/possibly disgusting-ness.

Discovery or memory that Art; paintings, drawings, sketches, can make me cry, like music does. Like ballet does. I’d either forgotten that until this week past while at the Guggenheim, or I never knew. Not all art, to be sure. Some of it leaves me cold, and some of it I’m convinced a toddler could create the equal of. But the pieces I feel, and to be surrounded by works of masters, even those whose work I personally think is shit, made me cry.

And then there was Miss Saigon. To risk a Bogart-esque “gin joint” moment, …of all the shows in all the theaters currently playing in NYC, my sister chose that one to be the one we saw… Was given fair warning by her that she’d cried the first time she saw it, and fair warning too that Unicorn tears had been shed, so mine weren’t unexpected. What was unexpected was how 2 parts of the story line resonated so deeply with me. And a couple of the songs…. I was a goner.

Perhaps equal to that emotion, was the emotion of watching those living a life of which I used to dream, come to fruition. Not because I wanted ever to be rich/famous. I mean, I’ll take rich because money makes life easier, if you’re not an asshole about it, but, never was my desire for life on a stage of whatever kind, about that.

So as I sat there, hearing a song of a sun and moon, of lives so different from one another, and unexpected love, and thinking of my little girl dreams of dancing ballet, of singing, and acting, or combining them, and how I was told so many times by those who are supposed to encourage dreams, I wasn’t “enough” (good enough, realistic enough, skinny enough) or was too much (mostly too much boobs and ass, but also, too much smart for “that” sort of life) and how I let my dreams get wiped away, I got sad.  The sadness lasted only for a moment before the beauty took me away, but it was unexpected, and healing. A healing I didn’t know that I needed, which has been a recurring theme lately.

This writing and I are not friends right now. The words don’t come, and the emotions are exhausting, and I know enough now to know that I am not crazy, but it’s a little crazy making when, in spite of arms thrown wide open, and absolute surrender to what is so much bigger than I ever imagined, so much bigger than me, I am unable to exhale. And I really, really, thought it was time, to exhale.

 

You Were Written Into The Song Of My Soul

Maybe laying here in my bed, typing this into my phone, the words bubbling once again below the surface will find their way to light, in a way they were reluctant to do when it was the couch, and the laptop, and me.

There’s a whirlwind now, circling around me. Everything is changing, inside, and out, and its brilliant, and beautiful, and I’m peacefully overwhelmed. Because I wrote maybe I need to shed skin again, and God, Universe, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, whatever,  responded with “get naked, baby!” So naked I am, in the whirlwind, at peace, overwhelmed, but not. No need to be in control of any of it, but also in control of it all because; manifestation.

And it never looks like I think it will but always looks like what I wish I’d dreamed it to be, now that I let go of what it is, or will be, and just let go. With tears of unknown origin once again finding their way to me, this time I’m not on my knees, or even surprised. This time I’m grateful. Each tear that clings to a lash, reluctant to fall, or makes its way out amongst a rush of it’s peers, is a spontaneous ritual of purification. Is a signifier simultaneously of a closure, and a further opening.

Absent all fear, the step forward, upward, sideways, whatever it’s meant to be, leaves behind another footprint in memory’s past. And I have no more answers to questions than I had when I finally chose myself that day 7 months ago, except so much now makes sense.

Whether it is a matter of heightened awareness or a quantitative rise in frequency/frequency of occurrences, synchronicities abound. And what I need when I need it, words or actions or phone calls or songs or love, reach for me, take hold of me, assure me here is where I’m meant to be. Here where I have the most incredible people in my life. And where magic(k) is everywhere.

I’m still just half a hippy, (the half that will always be well groomed, and never wear patchouli) but in my halfness I am (holy) fully in a place of knowing love more deeply, more intimately, than in any time (in this lifetime) before now.  Love generally love specifically love globally. Starting with me, for me, for both halves (still really both wholes) of me, and with love for all, even those I maybe don’t like, or for whom my first thought isn’t loving, there is love.

Where once I thought a mirror was held before me I’ve come to understand there is no mirror held but is simply a mirror. My mirror into which I reflect back as it’s mirror.  Ideas about, and descriptors of,  history lessons, and titles, none of that matters. Tomorrow, or next week or 2 months from now, it just is. (Everything of light, and bright, and cool)

This is all about me,  but it can never be just for me. While naked 11 (which is not the same naked as skin shedding naked) may appear to be some days a default setting, the absolute truth hovers more around (veiled? robed?) 8 or whatever number below 10 best expresses authenticity & transparency with some (tiny amount of) reserve, except when expressed as frequency (Hz) which makes the number at least 500.  And isn’t about appearance, and only meaningful to those (one) who hear(s) what it/I say(s).

7 months in the past and 15 days into the future are significant, but right here, and now, is where I work to stay.

—–

Fell asleep at 3:00AM, phone in hand, typing. I guess this is the place at which the words stop.

To Elizabeth Gilbert and her Rayya Elias

My Dearest Elizabeth & Rayya,

When I first read the story of your love, of your relationship, I judged you. Not because you’re both women, to that I pay no mind. But because Elizabeth was married. Because she hurt at least one other person, to be with another person. Vows, and promises, and all that we’re supposed to hold sacred. I actually thought you were given a pass BECAUSE you’re both women. I thought if Elizabeth had declared her love for another man, she’d have been labeled a cheating whore, at best. But because it was another woman she fell (or realized she was) in love with, a woman with terminal cancer no less, passes were given.

But not by me. I judged. Because I am after all, perfect. Especially where love is concerned. In particular at that point in my life, where I was very much in the depths of being a hot fucking mess, clutching the pieces of my (repeatedly) shattered heart, because my (abusive, cheating) then husband, had a side piece. Again. But there I was busy being all perfect, and judgey, about you, your love, and your relationship. You, meanwhile, were busy living your lives, and sharing love. Clearly I had the upper hand in things.

Maybe I should have prefaced the formal announcement of my judginess with words about how you, Elizabeth, were a hero of sorts to me. When I read “Eat, Pray, Love” (the first of a thousand times) all I could think was “woah, I want to be as cool, and courageous, as her.” Beside the fact that you were writing as a profession, and funny, interesting, easy to read, but with real depth, writing, and traveling while doing the writing, you were also eating ALL the yumminess in Italy. Then being all one with Shiva, and Shakti or Ganesh or whomever, in India (OK, it took a minute for you to get there… I know! But you got there!) Then you went to Bali, and for hells sake, its Bali!! But also, love happened then. Oh how I wanted to be you! Also too, JULIA FUCKING ROBERTS played you in the movie based on your life, and book!! Amazing!

I don’t remember how long after EPL, came your book “Committed.” Such a different tone, but I marveled at the depth of it. All of the research you did, not just in books, but experientially, and conversationally, whatever it took to help you get to your personal truth, to walk through your biggest fears, and to deal with the curve ball life had thrown you, was amazing. Again, while writing, while traveling, while loving, and being loved.

Some of what you’d found in your research really dug deep in me, taught me history and traditions I’d never heard of. Also, it got me thinking about my personal truths around relationships. I’m a weirdo who digs learning, and thinking, and introspection. Your books brought me all those things because you’re cool! And then you got married to your Bali love. YAY!! Could I just BE you already?

By this point my then marriage had absolutely fallen apart, to put it mildly. Not that I was getting divorced. Oh hell no. My marriage was a horse that I was bound, and determined to beat to DEATH. Then give it CPR to bring it back. Then beat it to death, again.  More than ever, I wanted to be you. Eating, and Praying, and Loving, and traveling, and writing.

September 2016 when you posted about no longer apologizing for your feelings, a month after I’d found out about my then husband’s (newest) side piece, and having either not come forward yet about the abuse in my marriage, or having done so only to a couple of people, when I read about you, and Rayya, and your divorcing to be with  her, I was disappointed in you young lady! I was angry. I felt betrayed. How dare my heroine fall from the pedestal upon which she’d never chosen to sit. The pedestal where I’d placed her, and love, and commitment.

I a little bit broke up with you then.  Not the way I broke up with Shonda Rhimes when she killed off McDreamy, and I refused then, and now, to watch her shows. I still buy your books. But a little bit, we stopped being a thing then, you and I. I’m sure you felt it. I’m sure you being a public figure with a huge following, in a new love, with a woman with terminal cancer, and very full life in general, felt my disapproval from where I live in central Jersey.

I don’t know when it happened exactly, and I definitely don’t know how, or what might have been the events leading to it, but, sometime in October, I, to quote you Elizabeth, got tired of my own bullshit. Or at least started to. It didn’t have to do with the 2 of you. I’m not really sure what it had to do with. Maybe I got bored of spinning around on the nail in my foot. I’ve figured out that I have to stop trying to figure out what it was that caused the shift for me, but, a shift there was. I started to let go of my pain, and to remember to love myself again. And that I was (am) worth loving.

But it was in early November when the change really happened. When I opened myself, to myself, remembered who I am, what I believe, what I feel, and let go of a lot of crap that had been weighing me down for more years than I care to admit. Through a series of events, and choices, and some REALLY unexpected gorgeousness, my thoughts were, at least in part, turned to love. And when I say love, I mean, LOVE. Big, huge, glorious, take your breath away while breathing life into you, LOVE. Self love. Love for others. Friendship love. Global love. Just, love. Which brought me back around to the 2 of you, and your LOVE, and your relationship. And how I’d been Judgey McJudgerson about it, and was wrong for having been.

In moving away from the bat shit crazy woman I’d become in the last few years of my marriage, and closer to the me I’ve always really been, I remembered that, beside the fact that how you live your life is none of my business, love is what is most important. YES, there was at least one person who was no doubt hurt as a result of your having realized your love, your IN LOVE, for Rayya, but had you chosen to stay with him, instead of allowing your love for her be known, you wouldn’t have loved her any less. You wouldn’t have been living as your “authentic self” which is a buzz phrase I hate, but suited to this moment. It likely would have affected him in negative ways, too. 

Also, sometimes love comes from very unexpected places, with timing and circumstances you’d never have dreamed possible. When that love becomes in love, as yours did, I can just imagine how overwhelmingly beautiful that feels. How right, real, and meant to be. How impossible to deny. Especially when you know time is short. 

I don’t think there was a right or wrong choice in your situation, because to each his or her own, but I think you, Elizabeth, made a choice that was brave as fuck.  You knew there would be people like me, who judged you. Some people who judged you were probably publicly mean, and terrible to you about it. (As opposed to me just silently shunning you, from a distance.) Because you live your life in the public eye, and because you wrote the book on your love, and marriage, well, I can’t even imagine what might have been the mental process for you. The emotional process. 

In leaving your marriage you likely left what was comfort, and security, and love, for a love larger than all of that. And to have whatever time you are able to, with Rayya, out loud, in public because your life sort of demands it, and unapologetically, because your love just IS.

When I read 2 days ago of the ceremony you had to celebrate your love, and understanding that you probably don’t know how much time Rayya has left here, the words “does sometimes love come too late” crossed my mind. I immediately answered my own question with, shut up Michelle, because it’s never too late for love. 

Then I got sad for a minute, knowing  your time is relatively short. But that’s sort of silly because you may not have as much time together here as you would like to have, but you have an IN LOVE that many people don’t EVER have. An IN LOVE that I hope to be lucky enough to myself know in this lifetime. And really, that’s the antithesis of sad. 

I’m sure you, Elizabeth, want to know, are BURNING to know, that we’re back to being a thing now. I mean, I know you’re all in love with Rayya, and we’ve never actually met, and I don’t mean it “that way” anyway. But you are a heroine of mine, again. A really human, really “normal”, really just taking life as it comes, and working on your stuff so you can make your way through it as best possible, heroine. You’re brave, and honest, and courageous. I can only hope that I am as gracious, and graceful, and just damn funny, as you, if the really difficult stuff comes my way again. 

I thank you for all the valuable lessons you’ve taught to me, all you’ve helped me to learn, how you’ve helped me to take a deeper look at myself, a deeper look at love, simply by being you, and living your truth. Thank you for reminding me that love is love is love, and helping to reopen my heart to it, no matter what it looks like. No matter if the timing is “off”, and the situation not what would be called ideal. 

To you, and your brilliant Rayya, I’m sorry I judged. I send my love, my light, and my hopes that you get as much time as possible, and then some, together, to share your in love, in this time, and place.

And to Rayya, I can’t begin to know what you in particular are feeling right now. But I’m so happy for you that you have this love to hold you when you need it most. May angels, or whatever comforts you most, wrap themselves around you, now and always. 

All my Love,

Michelle from  8A off the turnpike

 


As a very important PS to anyone who may read this: Please don’t read into what I’ve written. IF you think this is about you, directed toward you, referencing you, unless you’re Elizabeth, Rayya, my ex-husband, (who I’m loathe to mention because my past is really behind me, and its just a history lesson now,  but is indeed part of the history of me) or me, its none of those. Although I did sort of quote a (beloved) someone, if you read this, you’ll know that one thing is you.  And also the other thing you played a part in. But other than that, this isn’t about anyone else’s lives. 

Please don’t think I mean its OK to bang random people if you’re married or in a committed relationship. Random sex isn’t IN LOVE. I mean, if you want to do that, its not my life, just don’t think that I’m all “woo hoo” about it. (As if my opinion matters.) Please also don’t think I feel that one should be keeping their eyes open for greener pastures. Or other pastures. But sometimes pastures make their way to you, or you’ll accidentally come across one.  Also, if one finds new love, but chooses to stay with known love, that is their business, their right, their life. Same same with choosing new love.

To anyone who doesn’t know who Elizabeth and Rayya are, and want to, links below to Elizabeth’s Facebook page.

And also, to quote Ed Sheeran

“…People fall in love in mysterious ways. Maybe its all part of a plan…”

Angel

Come find me. 

I am here, 

where I kiss the sun, 

and burn with the moon. 

Where I hear your feelings, 

and dream your thoughts. 

Waiting, 

but never just, waiting. 

—————–

This isn’t a bloggy blog post, and it’s not poetry unless you want it to be. This started as an Instagram thingy, turned tweet, in an almost mocking way. (Mocking myself, to be clear. Not my writing. My romantic, sappy, emo artsy fartsy creative feeler-ness)

 It ends up I like it in spite of it being the kind of writing I often hate. It’s ended up a love song to both halves of me, which are actually both wholes of me, but that just sounds weird. And also I wanted it somewhere I could find it, in case it needs to say more someday. 

This is not about sitting around waiting for my missing love. I did that, in a manner of speaking, waited to be seen, to matter, and watched years slip by. Highly overrated. And also, my love is not missing. For whatever that means in the moments after this one.  

And tomorrow is another step forward. Tomorrow is the continuation of beginning, again.  Tomorrow is actually 10 steps forward. So if you feel shaking, it’s just my chakras being cleared. And if you hear music, it’s just my soul remembering it’s song. 

The title of this? Fuck if I know why. They just told me to call it angel. So I did. 

…I Want to Tell You Everything, the Words I Never Got to Say the First Time Around…

Last night I cried.

After a day of fun, watching little boys, and little girls, and puppies, running around, swimming, playing, being silly.  A day of marveling at my cousin’s gorgeous little boy, not yet 3, throwing himself with fearless abandon into the pool, in spite of the fact that he doesn’t actually know how to swim. His giggles, and smile, breaking through the water as he’d find his way to the surface, into his daddy’s waiting arms. And of rocking my Babes to sleep, just he and I in a quiet corner of the garden, listening to (beloved) music, as is our way, and what he asks me for in his just over a year old vocabulary *ooh ooh usic* that melts my heart, every time he sees my phone.

A day when adults too were having fun. Which may have been more courtesy of adult beverages than the freedom of childhood, but, fun is fun. With plans to come home, have a “UFC and chill” night; I got a message about terror attacks in London, turned on the news for a bit to see what new horror was happening, and then I came home, and cried.

The no bullshit truth of life in 2017 is that any given moment, of any given day, there can be something truly tragic happening, somewhere in the world, to cry about. That’s not negativity, or pessimism, or perspective. that’s the truth. It’s probably been this way since the beginning of time. Humans have likely been assholes to other humans, whether as a group, or individuals, since forever started. But now, with all of our “modern” technology  which is so fantastic, and important in so many ways, its likely much easier.  Automatic weapons, and bombs, and nukes, long range missiles, and cars, fucking cars… are much more effective weapons than literal sticks, and stones. I certainly don’t always, or even often, cry, for groups of people killed by terrorists, or psychopaths, which really are one in the same. But when its the U.K., and again, so soon, …

Anyone who know me, knows I’m some sort of weirdo who has always, for as long as I can reach into memory, had a “thing” for the UK. Drawn to it, had an affinity for “things” of it, in an  inexplicable way. My weirdo vibe has become exponentially stronger as the years have passed. I see photos of some parts of it, and my heart races, and I get emotional. For reasons that I don’t understand, as crazy as it is, my heart is in the U.K. My beliefs tell me that I am not *just* bonkers. That I am having past life memories, or am feeling the energy of concurrent lives, in universes parallel, where my soul is occupying a body, living there. No matter the reasons why, what I do know is that I feel it more deeply when these sorts of tragedies occur in the U.K. And last night, I cried.

I woke this morning, having watched only the first 30 seconds of the UFC main card, (which thankfully I recorded!) on my couch. TV on, lights on, puppy crowding me with his massive 12lbs of body weight that seem like 1200 when he sleeps near me. Fully clothed. Terrible. I guess my body just said ‘fug it – good night’, in spite of what was an early hour for me.

Today I’ve spent a lot of time, once again, thinking, and feeling, and trying to figure ANYTHING out. Which I should know better than to do but, ‘HI, My name is Michelle, and I’m an over-thinker/feeler!’ I started to spin myself out about the state of the world, the state of my life, the state of my living room! I worried for all the little boys, and girls at the party yesterday, my cousin’s gorgeous baby boy, and my Babes, about what kind of world we are leaving for them. Or if there will be a world at all to be left to them, with assholes being assholes with alarming frequency.

In my spinning, I dwelt for a bit (radical understatement) on my not too distant future, things that may or may not happen, where I’m going, what I’m doing, or not doing, and choices I’ve recently made that will affect my tomorrows. Also, what can I possibly do to affect things not remotely within my sphere of responsibility, that aren’t mine to clean up, control, decide, fix, or even fuck up if that’s the choices made. AND, will the UK ban Americans from traveling, and moving there, because our President is such a ridiculous ass??!!!! (Half jest.)

And SPIIIIINNNN!!! Like a shroomy, patchouli scented, underarm hair having, long flowy skirt wearing, hippie chick at a Dead concert, I spun. And spun. And spun.

Much too long after I started, I realized I was spinning the fuck out, then did my best impersonation possible of Cher in Moonstruck. I (figuratively) slapped the crap out of myself, while (mentally) shouting “snap out of it!”

I’d like to say the snapping out of it was instantaneous, but, as any over thinker can attest to, stopping a super-spin ain’t easy. (My use of the word ain’t, which I ABHORE, is to emphasize how not easy is the super spin, to stop!) But the spinning did indeed stop.

After I got my feet back under me, I pulled a card, petted my puppy, exorcised with peppermint essential oil, the demon ants appearing here and there around my house, let the sunshine wash over me for a bit, spoke to a friend, watched the #OneLoveManchester concert, refocused my energy to within myself to ensure that my needs, my life, is what is my priority, and I remembered. Who I am. How I am. What I feel. What I believe. What MY path is. And that the best thing I can do for myself, for those I love, and the world, is to be my best self, and breath and exhale. To send out love, and gratitude, and beauty, especially in the moments when anything but those things would be easier to send.  I can’t control anything outside myself, but I can control my reactions to it; to get all spirituality 101 up in here.

Now its Sunday night, and nothing has changed since last night, or this morning, except me. There’s some great stuff happening this week, and even greater stuff happening later this month.  I’m going to Arizona in September, (manifesting) and should probably swing over to LA while I’m in the area. Going back to AZ in October. Want to fit a UK (don’t fuck this up for me, DONALD, or terrorist assholes) and Italy trip in, as well. Summer will be here soon, and I’m going to hit the shore as soon as I can, for ocean, and music, and beauty. I have tickets to see some of my favorite bands at The Stone Pony, in July. My best friend, and sister of my soul, just called me as I was typing that last sentence, and we actually got to talk for half an hour, which is amazing. While stuff that will elicit tears is still happening all over the world, maybe if enough of us stop our personal spinning, and remember love, we can change that, even if just to a small degree.

To the U.K., and everywhere else in the world tonight that is hurting, which is kind of everywhere else, “…I wish you all the love in the world, but most of all, I wish it from myself…”